The Note, 1/22/09: Clean Breaks — Obama Starts With What He’s Not

By Caitlin Taylor

Jan 22, 2009 8:17am

By RICK KLEIN What we’ve learned about the Obama era in less than 48 hours: Sometimes symbols matter — other times, not so much.  President Obama may have some unlikely allies — but will be missing at least one who was once thought likely. TurboTax will not be the software of choice in the new White House.  Second times can be charmed — or just annoying ways to silence bloggers and lawyers. 

Madam Secretary has a certain ring to it, too.  Washington is stirring to life at Obama’s direction — Cabinet secretaries being confirmed, Capitol Hill hearings on major policy priorities, big changes handed down at the White House, in both style and in substance. It’s momentum time for the new president. Executive orders that fulfill campaign pledges, or introduce himself to the public as just plain different than the guy that preceded him — that’s the easy part. So far, almost every move Obama has taken has been to undercut, gut, or reverse something former President Bush did — welcome moves, surely, to a country that was ready to see that helicopter leave. New movement Thursday, per ABC’s Jake Tapper: “Later this morning, President Obama will sign new executive orders that will, among other tasks, shut down the detainee center at Guantanamo Bay by Jan. 22, 2010; shut down the CIA detention centers around the world; establish a process with Defense Secretary Gates and the attorney general through which the Obama administration will decide what to do with the detainees going forward; and require all U.S. interrogators to adhere to rules in the Army Field Manual.”  Obama looks abroad in his second full day in office: Meetings with his national security and foreign policy teams, capped by an appearance at the State Department at 2:40 p.m. ET, alongside Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Look for the Gitmo order as part of the president’s 10:30 a.m. ET meeting with retired military officers. And the first Robert Gibbs briefing (really, this time) around 12:30 p.m. ET. The first full day in office made the point that someone else is now in the most famous of homes.

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